Dr Martin Luther King Jr's Influence on the Social and Political Culture of the Country

2658 Words11 Pages
Few Americans have had as tremendous an influence on the social and political culture of the country as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King's "most formative writings and sermons" dated from when he was just a teenager in seminary school (Kuruvila, 2007). King's character was formed within the forge of the Christian faith. It was from a firm bedrock in Christianity that King's concepts of morality and spiritual justice sprouted. However, King's political and social activism also bore roots in the rich soil of philosophy. As Blakely (2001) points out, "As Martin moved on to the seminary, he began to pass countless hours studying social philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Hobbes, Bentham, Mill, and Locke." Next, Thoreau, Hegel and Marx grabbed King's attention, as did Reinhold Niebuhr and of course Mohandas K. Gandhi (Blakely, 2001). It was Gandhi who perhaps had the strongest influence on King's methodologies of civil disobedience. Therefore, King's theories and methods did not evolve in a vacuum of American backwardness. King was fighting against the current of racism that gripped the American South, but he did so in an educated and thoughtful manner. Moreover, King drew from the strength of the burgeoning black empowerment and black nationalism movements of leaders as diverse as Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois. Martin Luther King, Jr. would synthesize this complex and powerful array of formidable philosophical influences. King is a Christian herald because he

More about Dr Martin Luther King Jr's Influence on the Social and Political Culture of the Country

Open Document